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Us 17, America 13, Washington 11, United 5, Mcconnell 5, United States 4, Geithner 2, Boehner 2, Ronald Reagan 2, Moody 's 1, Reagan 1, Mr. Clyburn 1, Van Hollen 1, Grachev 1, The General Public 1, Obama 1, United States Senate 1, Steny Hoyer 1, Cap 1, Bowles 1,
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  CSPAN    C-SPAN Weekend    News  News/Business.  

    July 16, 2011
    6:00 - 7:00am EDT  

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>> we will proceed in this order. i will speak and we'll go right
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down the line of our leadership. thank you for being with us this morning. i'm sure you're all well aware democrats carried the day yesterday against republicans. we think this foreshadows things that are going to come in the future. when we had a caucus in which we heard from the leadership participating with the president, our caucus focused on the continued support for our president and the fact that he has been the leader continuing to want to work out a solution. the caucus stands behind a -- him because we know is out there protecting the core values of not only in this caucus but of the american people, especially as relates to medicare, social security, and medicaid which are important to our caucus. we continue to encourage seeking the best popular deal in the fairest american way. failing that, our caucus believes that a there is should be a clean vote on the debt ceiling and continue to stay and work on what this caucus believes is the most
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fundamental thing facing america, job creation. we have not seen a single piece of legislation from our opponents on the other side as a -- it relates to jobs. we are focused on innovation and making it in america. that is what we will continue to support. semin turnover two are vice chair. -- when that, let me turn it over to our vice chair. >> thank you. let me get a shot out to a different -- in a few short days, the women's soccer team for our country will once again make is very proud. -- us very proud. win or lose, they have proven that we are moving forward and we're doing this together. here in washington we could take a few lessons from the women's soccer team because we do this together as a team. democrats continued to stay at the negotiating table. we are convinced the president is trying to do the right thing by getting a long-term solution.
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we should do this as a team. not as republicans and not as democrats. this is about doing it together. if we're going to do it together, and ask to be a -- it has got to be a balanced approach. the president has made that clear. we are ready to do that with our teammates to get this done for the american people in terms of not defaulting but also making sure we get our fiscal house in order. let me turn it over to the leader. >> thank you. teamwork pays off. it did last night for the democrats in the baseball game. and the women's soccer team. we are proud of them. i am proud of our caucus. i wish all of you could have heard the knowledge, the perspectives, the values that they bring over and over to this discussion. we stand with the president of
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the united states in the hope that we could have a grand bargain that takes us well into the future with deficit reduction. it was only a week ago that we were hopeful this could happen in a bipartisan way. thursday we left the meeting with some spirit of " on a grand bargaining. -- spirit of cooperation that we could work on a grand bargain. so that we could move on to job creation. friday we were working on that, saturday the republicans walked away. since we have been trying to find out if that is still possible. if not, what is possible? with the various possible, it is -- what effort is possible, it is not possible for us to reduce the deficit and create jobs on the back of the working families. we continue to say did the president, congratulation. we are proud of the work you're doing. we're glad it does not reduce
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benefits for social security and medicare beneficiaries. it does not mean we're not open to initiatives that will strengthen the medicare and sosa -- shall shall -- social security, cut costs, and keep them solve of for a longer -- solvent for a longer period of time. but we're not reducing the deficit and giving tax cuts to the wealthy on the backs of our medicare recipients. i brought with me two days ago the prior is expressed to me by -- priorities expressed to me by a number of students who came to my office the other day. we know the deficit is not good for our future. we all stand ready to help reduce debt. everybody should participate. we hope you will not diminish the prospects we have for college education. we want you to know how important medicare and medicaid are to our families. it enables them to allow us to the college bible taking some -- by taking out of the fear of
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some of the costs. and if you are young and newly grachev waited, jobs, jobs, jobs they are so important to you. do not do anything that impedes the economic growth. their wisdom is so clear. but we saw the table was an attempt by the republicans to increase the cost to students by over $30 billion without taking one red cent of sacrifice from the wealthiest people and corporations in finland jobs -- corporations sending jobs overseas. overseas. our caucus focused on our priorities which are based on our values. we support our president for the grand bargain. the hope that can still happen and we know that it will happen -- whatever happens we will not reduce benefits to medicare and
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social security recipients. with that, i am pleased to yield to the leader in charge, steny hoyer. >> thank you very much, madam leader. >> it's crowded over there. >> time is short. the stakes are very high. the american people expect us to do what has been referred to. i do not have the faintest idea to on the american women paltry -- who on the american women's soccer soccer team is a republican or democrat. they are of the diverse races, nationalities, and regions -- and religions, but they are united in an effort to win for america. that is what this congress and this president need to do.
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the united in gaining a win for -- be united in gaining a win for america. what does that mean? it means, in the first instance, not walking out of the room, not watching their hands and saying, "we are going to proceed in a unilateral fashion." we are going to present a bill we note cannot pass the united states senate. and that the president of the united states would not sign. it is too late to continue to play partisan games. we need to come together. that is why the leadership of this party has supported our president in saying that we need a comprehensive response to the debt, deficit -- debt- deficit that confronts us and we need to ensure that america does not default on its obligations. americans do not expect our great country for the first time in history to default on
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its debt. therefore, i have told john boehner that our party stands ready to ensure that we do not default on our debt, number one. i believe that almost every member of our party, if not every member of our party, would vote on a clean extension to make that happen. then we are also committed to making sure that our economy grows and that we adopt a comprehensive plan that will ensure jobs will make it in america, that we will grow our economy so that we get the jobs to those people who are looking for jobs and the jobs for themselves and their families. this is a serious challenge that confronts us. the president of the united states has been meeting for four days to work with our
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republican colleagues to make that happen. america expects that. as we see our soccer team united, let us hope that the congress of the united states can come together in a bipartisan fashion to confront the growth of our economy, the assurance that america does not default, and the addressing our long-term deficit and debt challenges. thank you very much. now i yield to the assistant leader. >> thank you very much, mr. whip, madam leader, mr. chair, vice chair, and ranking member. i want to add my voice to those here, not only on behalf of the country and making sure that we do not default.
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i think there is a thought that i am not aware of where it originated. i first heard it enunciated by then vice president hubert humphrey. when he said that our nation is judged by how well we protect those who are living in the twilight of their years, our seniors, and how we treat those who are in the dawning of their lives. and i think that in these negotiations we need to make sure that as we solidify the
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country as a nation, that we also protect those men and women who have given so much to bring us to where we are and make sure that they have some dignity as they live out their lives with the assistance of medicare, medicaid, as well as their children and grandchildren, who must have opportunities to have a good life in this great country of ours. that has been the hallmark of our negotiations. i am very proud of the fact that we stayed at the table trying to seek resolutions into a very important matter. we are doing it in such a way that our children and grandchildren will be proud and we do justice to the legacy of those who brought us to this point. with that, i yield to ranking member of and holland.
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-- ranking member van hollen. >> thank you, mr. clyburn, and my colleagues. thank you for your leadership. in the last several days we have seen some good news and some bad news. the good news is that a wake-up call has been sent to those people who were deluded enough to think that if the united states defaulted on its debt it would not have very serious consequences for our economy and jobs. for a while there were people who would say that secretary geithner is making this stuff up. it is not real. well, is standard and poor's making it up? is moody's making it up? is the u.s. chamber of commerce making it up? defaulting on our debt, not paying america's bills for the first time in history will have devastating consequences for the economy. it is absolutely irresponsible for people to continue to take the position that it is okay for the united states not to pay
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its bills. the bad news was, unfortunately, we just heard from the republican caucus. because i heard the speaker say two things that were in conflict. on the one hand he says he still wants to get a big agreement -- a big agreement to try to address the deficit in this country and other issues. that is what we want. that is what the president of the united states wants. but what the speaker of the house said in the same breath is you cannot close loopholes -- corporate loopholes in the tax "-- tax code. you cannot get rid of the loopholes that reward companies for shipping jobs overseas. that you cannot ask the oil and gas companies to no longer take
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taxpayer subsidies. that is what he said. every bipartisan group that has looked at this issue -- simpson bowles and every other group -- say you need a balanced approach to get something done. that is what the president wants to do. in the same breath to say you want to get a big comprehensive plan and at the same time say you want to protect special interests loopholes in the tax code is, i believe, irresponsible. what is their answer that will bring before the house? the plan to end the medicare guarantee. sentencing is they have to go to the higher insurance market where they will have to pay more. i was just and with this point -- ronald reagan was a strong conservative, but ronald reagan said that there were important ties for compromise for the good
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of the country. the debt ceiling was raised 17 times when ronald reagan was president. as former senator alan simpson said, when push came to shove, reagan agreed 11 times to a package that included revenue. for the good the country and for the good of compromise. unfortunately, that is what we are not seeing now. on one hand, let's get a big bargain. all the other hand, setting traditions that make it impossible because the number one priority is not reducing the deficit, the number one priority has been protecting the special interest here in washington. let's change that. >> we have two minutes left. we apologize. >> the backup plan -- if you cannot come to an agreement, is there a viable way to avoid this? you do not know the details at this point?
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>> no. >> madam leader, cut cap and balance? >> we will talk about that later. we want to see what that is because we just heard about it. the balanced budget amendment was a trojan horse. this would be even worse from what i have heard. i have to go see it. we know of that and what was introduced by the republican senators. this one may be even worse. thank you. >> thank you. >> next, obama talks about ways to reduce the federal deficit. he says that an agreement must be reached to keep u.s. from defaulting on its loan
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obligations and that it should include revenue increases as well as spending cuts. secretary geithner says that at the country has until august 2 to avoid default. this is 40 minutes. >> hello, everybody. as you know, yesterday we had another meeting with congressional leaders. we are not having one today, so i thought it would be useful to give you an update on where we are. although congressional leaders -- all the congressional leaders have reiterated the desire to make sure that the united states does not default on our obligations and that the full faith and credit of the united states is preserved. that is a good thing. we should not even be this close to a deadline on this issue. this should have been taken care of earlier, but it is encouraging that everybody believes this is something that has to be addressed. for the general public, i have said this before but i just
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want to reiterate, this is not some abstract issue. these are obligations that the united states has taken on in the past. congress has run up the credit card and we now have an obligation to pay our bills. if we do not, it could have a whole set of adverse consequences. we could end up in a situation where interest rates rise for everybody all throughout the country. effectively, a tax increase on everybody, because suddenly, whether you are using your credit cards or trying to get a loan for a car or student loan, businesses that are trying to make payroll, all of them could end up being impacted as a consequence of default. what is important is that even as we raise the debt ceiling, we also solve the problem of
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underlying debt and deficits. i am glad that congressional leaders do not want to default, but the american people expect more than that. they expect that we actually try to solve this problem and get our fiscal house in order. during the course of these discussions with congressional leaders, what i have tried to emphasize is, we have a unique opportunity to do something big. we have a chance to stabilize america's finances for a decade, or 15 or 20 years, if we are willing to seize the moment. what that would require would be some shared sacrifice and a balanced approach that says we are going to make significant cuts in domestic spending, and i have already said i am willing to take down domestic spending to the lowest percentage of our overall economy since dwight eisenhower. it also requires cuts in defense spending. i have said that in addition to
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the $400 billion we have already cut from defense spending, we will look for hundreds of billions more. it would require us taking on health care spending, and that includes looking at medicare and finding ways that we can stabilize the system so that it is available not just for this generation but for future generations, and it would require revenues. it would require even as we are asking the person who needs a student loan or the senior citizen or people -- veterans who are trying to get by on a disability check, even as we are trying to make sure that all those programs are affordable, we are also saying to folks like myself that can afford it that we are able and willing to do a little bit more. millionaires and billionaires can afford to do a little bit more. we can close corporate loopholes so that oil companies are not getting unnecessary tax
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credits or the corporate jet owners are not getting unnecessary tax breaks. if we take that approach, then i am confident that we can not only impress the financial markets but more importantly, we can actually impress the american people that this town can actually get something done once in awhile. let me acknowledge what everybody understands. it is hard to do a big package. our republican friends have said they are not willing to do revenues and they have repeated that on several occasions. i hope that they are listening not just to lobbyists for special interests here in washington, but they are also listening to the american people, because it turns out, many polls done by your organization show that it is not just democrats who show we need to take a balanced approach, many republicans do as well.
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many republican voters think that any deficit reduction package should have a balanced approach and should include some revenues. it is not just democrats. it is a majority of republicans. you have a whole slew of republican officials from previous administrations. you have a bipartisan commission that has said that we need revenues. this is not just a democratic understanding, this is an understanding that the american people believe we should not be asking sacrifices from middle- class folks who are working hard every day, from the most vulnerable in our society, we should not ask them to make sacrifices we are not asking the most fortunate to make as well. i am still pushing for us to achieve a big deal, but what i
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also said to the group was, if we cannot do the biggest deal possible, then let's still be ambitious. let's try to at least get a down payment on deficit reduction. that we can actually accomplish without huge changes in revenue or significant changes in entitlements, but we could still send a signal that we are serious about this problem. the fallback position, the third option, and i think the least attractive option, is one in which we raise the debt ceiling, but we do not make any progress in deficit and debt. if we take that approach, this issue is going to continue to plague us for months and years to come. i think it is important for the american people that everybody in this town set politics aside, that everybody in this
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town sets our individual interests aside, and we try to do some tough stuff. i have already taken some heat from my party for being willing to compromise. my expectation and hope is that everybody in the coming days is going to be willing to compromise. last point i will make, and that i will take questions -- we are obviously running out of time. what i have said to the members of congress is that you need, over the next 24-36 hours, to give me some sense of what your plan is to get the debt ceiling raised through whatever mechanisms that can think about, and show me a plan in terms of what your doing for deficit and debt reduction. if they show me a serious plan, i am ready to move, even if the requires tough decisions on my part. i am hopeful that over the next couple of days, we will see this log jam broken, because of the american people, they understandably want to see
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washington do its job. with that, let me see who is on the list. >> you have said that reducing the deficit will require shared sacrifice. we know -- we have an idea of the taxes you would like to see raised on corporations and on americans in the top tax bracket, but we do not know specifically what you are willing to do when it comes to entitlements spending. in the interest of transparency, leadership, and showing the american people that you have been negotiating in good faith, can you tell us one structural reform that you were willing to make to one of these entitlement programs that would have a major impact on the deficit? would you be willing to raise the retirement age? which you be willing to means test social security or medicare? >> we have said that we are willing to look at all those approaches.
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i laid out some criteria in terms of what would be acceptable. for example, i have said very clearly that we should make sure that current beneficiaries, as much as possible, are not affected, but we should look at what can we do in the out years so that over time, some of these programs are more sustainable. i have said that means testing on medicare, meaning people like myself, i am going to be turning 50 in a week, so i am starting to think a little bit more about medicare eligibility. [laughter] i am going to get my aarp card soon, and my discount. you can envision a situation where somebody in my position, me having to pay a little bit more on premiums or copays or
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things like that, would be appropriate. again, that could make a difference. we have been very clear about where we are willing to go. what we are not willing to do is restructure the program in the ways that we have seen coming out of the house over the last several months, where we would voucherize the program and you potentially have senior citizens paying $6000 more. i view the social security and medicare as some of the most important programs we have. it is important for them to remain as social insurance programs that gives people certainty and reliability in their golden years. it turns out that making some modest modifications in those entitlements can save trillions of dollars, and it is not necessary to completely revamp the program. what is necessary is to say how
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do we make some modifications, including on the provider side. i think it is important for us to keep in mind drug companies, for example, who are still doing very well through the medicare program, and although we have made drugs more available at a cheaper price to seniors who earn medicare through the affordable care act, there is more work to potentially be done there. if you look at a balanced package even within the entitlement programs, it turns out you can save trillions of dollars while maintaining the core integrity of the program. >> the retirement age? >> i am not going to get into specifics, jake. everything you said is something that we have discussed. what i am not going to do is to ask -- let me put it this way. if you are a senior citizen and a modification potentially cost
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you $100 or $200 a year more, or even if it is not affecting current beneficiaries, someone who is 40 today, 20 years from now is going to end up having to pay a little bit more. the least i can do is to say that people who are making a million dollars or more have to do something as well. that is the kind of trade-off, the kind of balanced approach and shared sacrifice that i think most americans agree needs to happen. >> thank you, mr. president. i thought i heard you open up the door to this middle-of-the- road possibility. he said there should be a serious plan and then you are prepared to move. a few minutes before you came here, house republicans are going to be voting on a balanced budget amendment. is it dead on arrival, or does it short circuit what you expect in the next 24-36 hours? >> i have not looked at it.
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i guess that's -- i think the house will vote on a couple of things just to make political statements, but if you are trying to get to $2.4 trillion without any revenue, then you are effectively gutting a whole bunch of domestic spending that is going to be too burdensome and not something that i would support. just to be very specific, we have identified over a trillion dollars in discretionary cuts, both in defense and domestic spending. that is hard to do. that requires essentially that you freeze spending, and when i say freeze, that means you are not getting inflation, so that these are programmatic cuts that over the course of 10
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years, you would be looking at potentially a 10% cut in domestic spending. if you then double that number, at that point you are taking a really big bite out of programs that are really important to ordinary folks. you are talking about students accumulating thousands of dollars more in student loan debt every year. you are talking about federal workers and veterans and others potentially having to pay more in terms of their health care. i have not seen it a credible plan, having gone through the numbers, that would allow you to get to $2.40 trillion without really hurting ordinary folks, and the notion that we would be doing that and not asking anything from the
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wealthiest among us or from closing corporate loopholes, that does not seem like a serious plan to meet. the notion that -- a serious plan to me saying that oil companies do not need them to have an incentive to go out and make hundreds of millions of dollars, if we had not seen the other side even budge on that, i think most democrats would say that is not a serious plan. one last point on the balanced budget amendment. i do not know what version they are going to be presenting, but some of the balanced budget amendments that have been floating up their, this cut, cap, and balance, for example. when you look at the numbers, what you are looking at is cuts of a half trillion dollars below the ryan budget in any given year.
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it would require cutting social security or medicare substantially. i think it is important for everybody to understand that all of us believe that we need to get to a point where eventually we can balance the budget. we don't need a constitutional amendment to do that. what we need to do is do our jobs, and we have to do it the same way a family would do it. if a family gets overextended and their credit card is too high, they do not just stop paying their bills. what they do is, they say, how we start cutting our monthly cost? we keep making our payments but we start cutting out the things that are not necessary, and we do it in a way that maintains our credit rating, a way that is responsible. we do not stop sending our kids to college. we do not stop fixing the boiler or the roof that is leaking. we do things in a sensible, responsible way.
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we can do the same thing when it comes to the federal budget. >> if you end up going to this middle-of-the-road package you referred to as the second option, would that have to have some sort of the stimulus -- >> i think both would be good for the economy. a payroll tax cut is something that has put $1,000 in the pocket of the typical american family over the of last six or seven months, and it has helped offset some of the rising costs in gasoline and food. i think that american consumers and american businesses would benefit from a continuation of that tax cut next year. unemployment insurance, obviously unemployment is still too high. there are a lot of folks out there who are doing everything they can to find a job, but the market is still tight out there.
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for us to make sure they are able to stay in their homes potentially or able to still support their families i think is very important and contributes to the overall economy. there are ways that you can essentially take a little over one trillion dollars in serious discretionary funds, meaningful discretionary cuts, and then start building on top of that some cuts in non health care mandatory payments, ethanol programs, how we calculate various subsidies to various industries. that could potentially be layered on, and we could still do something like a tax cut for ordinary families that would end up benefiting the economy as a whole. that is not my preferable option. i think about this like a layer cake. you can do the bare minimum, and then you can make some
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progressively harder decisions to solve the problem more and more. we are in a position now where if we are serious about this, everybody is willing to compromise, as i said before, we can fix this thing probably for a decade or more, and that is something i think would be good for overall business climate and would encourage the american people that washington is willing to take care of its business. >> you are saying there are measures that would be good for the economy that need to be included for you to sign? >> i have to look at the overall package. i do not know what the speaker or mr. mcconnell are willing to do at this point. >> this has gotten kind of ugly in the last week, and it appears that things even gotten futile at these meetings.
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any regrets in your role in this? [inaudible] >> this notion that things got ugly is just not true. we have been meeting every single day, and we have had very constructive conversations. the american people are not interested in the reality tv aspects of who said what, and did somebody's feelings get hurt. they are interested in solving the budget problem and the deficit and debt. that may be good for chatter in this town, but it is not something that folks out in the country are obsessing about. with respect to bowles-simpson, it would not have happened had i not set up the structure for
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it. as you recall, this was originally bipartisan legislation that some of the republican supporters of decided to vote against it when i said i supported it. that seems to be a pattern i am still puzzled by. so we set it up, and they issued a report. this provides an important framework to begin discussions, but there were aspects of it that i said early on were not the approach would take. i will give you an example. on defense spending, a huge amount of savings on the discretionary side came from defense spending. as commander-in-chief, i have to make sure we are cutting it in a way that recognizes we are still in the middle of a war. we are winding down another war, and we have a lot of veterans we have to care for as they come home.
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what we have said is, a lot of the components of bowles- simpson, a lot of the recommendations we have taken. others, like on defense, we have taken some but not all of the recommendations. it's important to be consistent with our defense and security needs. the bottom line is, this is not an issue of salesmanship to the american people. the american people are sold. [unintelligible] >> you have 80% of the american people who support a balanced approach. 80% of the american people support an approach that includes revenues and cuts. the notion that somehow the american people are not sold is not the problem.
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the problem is, members of congress are divided ideologically into various positions because they boxed themselves then with previous statements. this is not a matter of the american people knowing what the right thing to do is. this is a matter congress doing the right thing and reflecting the will of the american people. if we do that, we will have solved this problem. lori montgomery. >> i wanted to ask about the two trains that seem to be rolling down the track down the hill. leader mcconnell has laid out an elaborate plan to raise the debt limit. he says it will be paired with the new committee that would be tasked with coming up with the big solution you talked about by the end of the year. your comment on that proposal. meanwhile in the house, you are saying we can be flexible in our demands of we could get a balanced amendment.
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is there any way that could be part of a solution? >> first of all, bba means a balanced budget amendment. i think i already addressed this question earlier. constitutional amendment to do our jobs. the constitution already tells us to do our jobs and make sure that the government is living within its means and making responsible choices. this notion that we are going to go over a multi-year process instead of seizing the moment now and taking care problems is a typical washington response. we don't need more studies. budgett need a balanced amendment. we simply need to make these tough choices and be willing to
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take on our bases. everybody knows it. we could have a discussion right now about what the numbers look like, and we know what is necessary. here is the good news. it turns out we don't have to do anything radical to solve this problem. contrary to what some folks say, we are not greece or portugal. turns out that our problem is we have cut taxes without paying for them over the last decade. we ended up instituting new programs like a prescription drug program for seniors that was not paid for. we fought two wars and did not pay for them. we had a bad recession that required a recovery act and stimulus spending and helping states and all that accumulated, and there is interest on top of that.
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to unwind that, what is required is that we have to clean up our tax code so we are not giving out a bunch of tax breaks to companies that do not need them and are not creating jobs. we cut programs that we don't need and we invest in those things that are going to help us grow. every commission that has been out there has said the same thing. basically taken the same approach within the margin of error. my general view is that if the american people looked at this, they would say some of these decisions are tough, but they do not require us to gut medicare or social security. they do not require us to stop helping young people go to college. they do not require us to stop helping families who have a
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disabled child. they did not require us to violate obligations to our veterans, and they don't require job killing tax cuts. they require us to make some modest adjustments to get our house in order, and we should do it now. with respect to senator mcconnell's plan, it is constructive to say that if washington operates as usual and cannot get anything done, let's at least avert armageddon. i am glad that people are serious about the consequences of defaults, but we have two problems here. one is raising the debt ceiling. this is a problem that was manufactured here in washington, because every single one of the leaders over there voted for raising the debt
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ceiling in the past and it has typically been a difficult but routine process. we do have a genuine underlying problem that our debt and deficits are too big. senator mcconnell's approach solves the first problem. it does not solve the second problem. i would like to solve that second problem. >> are you looking at this option as one likely outcome at this point for can you share with us why there is some hope that the talks that have been going on might actually produce them? >> i always have hope. don't you remember my campaign? [laughter] even after being here 2.5 years, i continue to have hope, because of the american people.
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there is still good, common sense. all we have to do is align with that common-sense on this problem and it can get solved. i am assuming that at some point, members of congress are going to listen. every republican -- i will not say every. a number of republican former elected officials would say a balanced approach that includes some revenue is the right thing to do. the majority of republican voters say that approach is the right thing to do. the proposal that i was discussing with speaker boehner fell squarely in line with what most republican voters think we should do. so the question is, at what point do folks over there start listening to the people who put them in office?
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now is a good time. sam young. >> good morning, mr. president. i would like to go back to the first question about the tone of this campaign. -- this debate. while it has not been ugly, it is not what you had in mind when you say you wanted to change the tone in washington. when you have senator mcconnell saying that he views these discussions through the prism of 2012, going forward, if you get a deal on this, can you get anything done it with congress over the next year and a half? >> let me say this. i am not trying to poke at you guys. i generally do not watch what is said about me on cable. a generally did not read what is said about me even on the hill. part of this job is having a thick skin and understanding a
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lot of this stuff is not personal. that is not going to be an impediment to whatever at center mcconnell says about me on the floor of the senate, it will not be an impediment to us getting a deal done. the question is going to be whether at any given moment we are willing to set politics aside, at least briefly, in order to get something done. i don't expect politicians not to think about politics, but every so often, there are issues that our urgent that have to be attended to and require us to do things we don't like to do. it gets some constituents that helped us get elected agitated, because they are looking at it from a narrow prism. we are supposed to step back and look at what is good for the country. if we are able to remind
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ourselves of that, then there is no reason why we should not be able to get things done. what we have been obsessing about raising the debt ceiling and reducing the debt and deficit. the american people are obsessed that unemployment is still way too high, and too many folks' homes are still under water, and prices of things that they need, not just that they want, are going up a lot faster than their paychecks are, if they have a job. even after resolve this problem, we still have a lot of work to do. hans was mentioning we should renew the payroll tax for another year, make sure employment insurance is there for another year. you are making the point about whether or not that issue could be wrapped into this deal. my point is that those are
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another set of issues that we need to be talking about and working on. i have an infrastructure bank bill that would supplement construction workers back to work building roads and bridges. we should be cooperating on that. most of the things i have proposed to spur on additional job growth are traditionally bipartisan. i have 3 trade deals ready to go, all deals that the republicans tell me were their top priorities. they said this would be one of the best job creators that we could have. yet it is still being held up because some folks don't want to provide trade adjustment assistance to people who may be displaced as a consequence of trade. surely we can come up with a compromise to solve those problems. there will be huge differences between now and november 2012
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between the parties. whoever the republican nominee is, we are going to have a big, serious debate about what we believe is the right way to guide america forward and win the future. i am confident i will win that debate because we have a better approach. but in the meantime, surely we can sit down and actually do something to help the american people right here and right now. >> raising the debt ceiling is fairly routine, as you said. but it seems like economic armageddon pair to less armageddon. >> i am going to keep on working to trying, and i'm going
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hope that in part this debate has focused the american people's attention all little more. and it will subject congress to scrutiny and increasingly the american people are going to say to themselves, if a party or a politician is constantly taking the position "my way or the highway," constantly being locked into ideologically rigid positions that we're going to remember at the polls. it is kind of cumulative. the american people are not paying attention to every detail of every discussion, but who seems to be trying to get something done. who seems to be just posturing and trying to score political points? i think it will be the interest of everyone who wants to continue to serve in this town to make sure that they are on
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the right side of that impression. and that is, by the way, what i said at the meeting two days ago. i was very blunt. i said the american people do not want to see a bunch of posturing. they do not want to hear a bunch of sound bites. what they want is for us to be able to solve problems. and we all have to remember that. that is why we were sent here. last question. >> any sign that republicans are being more aligned with that american majority? or are we in the same place that we were on monday? >> it is probably better for you to ask them. i did think that -- and i said this before, speaker boehner in good faith was trying to see if it was possible to get a big deal done. he had some problems in his
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caucus. my hope is that after some reflection, after we walked through all the numbers this week and looked at all the options, that there may be some movement, some possibility, some interest to still get something more than the bare minimum done. but we are running out of time, that is the main concern i have at this point. we have enough time to do a big deal. i have reams of paper and printouts and spreadsheets on my desk. we know how we can create a package that solves the deficit and debt for a significant period of time. but in order to do that, we have to get started now, and that is why i am expecting some answers from all the congressional leaders sometime in the next couple of days.
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and i have to say -- this is tough on the democratic side, too. some of the things that i have talked about, that i would be willing to see happen, there are some democrats who think that is absolutely unacceptable. that is where i would have the selling job, chuck, is to sell some of our party that if you are a progressive, and you should be concerned about death and -- debt and deficit just as much as if you were conservative. the reason is that if the only thing we are talking about over the next year or two years or five years is debt and deficit, then it is very hard to start talking about making investments in community colleges so that our kids are trained, how do we actually rebuild $2 trillion worth of crumbling infrastructure? if you care about making investments in our kids and in
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basic research, then you should want our fiscal house in order so that every time we propose a new initiative, someone doesn't just go up there hands and say, more big spending, more government. it would be very helpful for us to be able to say to the american people, our fiscal house is in order. now the question is, what should we be doing to win the future and make ourselves more competitive and create more jobs? what aspect of what government is doing are a waste and that we should eliminate? that is that kind of debate i would like that. thank you, guys. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> next, your calls and comments
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on "washington journal." dennis senate hearing on authorize charges on phone bills. after that, two vince focusing on the economy and job creation, one with the afl-cio and the other hosted by the chamber of commerce. >> i am very interested in what i call disappearing america. america that may not be here 25 years from now. >> for 30 years, carol highsmith has documented the country through her camera lens. every total available and at the clever of congress. it is a prelude to the debut of our original documentary "the library of congress." >> we are here a library of congress. this is 2000 books from the justices personal collection. what's interesting discovery was
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found on the original draft of the declaration of independence? you will find more answers in our original documentary. "the library of congress," airing this monday night. we will tour the iconic jefferson building and the reading room. presidential papers from george washington to calvin coolidge. learn how the library is using technology to discover hidden secrets in its collection and to preserve for future generations. join us for "the library of congress" this monday night on c-span. modern technology revealed that severson use the word subject before replacing it with the word citizen in this first draft of the declaration. .

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